You may have already heard the news: effective January 1, 2024, candidates to take the registration exam for dietitians must have a master's degree. This change in rules from the Commission on Dietetic Registration may seem to only concern future dietitians. However, even the most experienced practitioners who previously entered the field with bachelor's degrees could see a significant career impact as they begin to compete with job candidates possessing more advanced credentials.

As a leader in educating healthcare professionals, Northeast College of Health Sciences has decades of experience helping dieticians nationwide expand their knowledge, and résumés, via our online Master of Science degree in applied clinical nutrition program. We recently spoke to the dean of online education at Northeast College, Dr. Peter Nickless, to get his view of how practicing dietitians should prepare for what is certain to be a more competitive career environment. He offered three main considerations.


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One: Get out in front of the new wave of competitors.

"Do not wait," was Dr. Nickless' first piece of advice. At this writing in 2022, implementation of the new rule goes into effect in less than a year and a half. Many new entrants to the field, long aware that the change was on the horizon, have already built a graduate degree into their plans and will be ready that first day of 2024. If you're currently practicing, your registration as a dietitian won't be affected. Nonetheless, you may find that healthcare HR departments are more focused on the new pool of better-credentialed job seekers. With master's degree programs often taking two years to complete, now is the time to start working on an advanced degree to complement your advantages in experience.

Two: Go deeper in your education to expand the impact of your practice.

At Northeast College our nutrition faculty are experts and are dedicated to expanding your healthcare "toolkit," in line with our commitment to reimagining health and transforming lives. The Applied Clinical Nutrition program is designed to better equip you to operate within an integrated team in institutional settings, such as hospitals and health care centers, where you may be working now. The program also provides you with the advanced nutritional knowledge necessary to deliver the preventive care and performance optimization that goes with working with patients one-on-one, including in private practice.

Three: Choose an online master's program to fit your needs.

As a practicing dietician, you'll need a master's program that's flexible enough to support the many demands of your work and life. With the Applied Clinical Nutrition program from Northeast College, you'll have the choice of our accelerated, 16-month course of study or our standard 24-month program, both of which are 100% online. You can deepen your knowledge of whole-food nutrition and how it helps treat the whole person, with courses including Microbiome and Gastrointestinal Health, Genomics, and Personalized Nutrition.

Don't just stay competitive -- stay ahead.

Dietetics is an exciting, changing field. To find out how a master's degree from Northeast College can help you keep up with, and ahead of, those changes, contact our advisors by phone, at 800-234-6922, or via email.